Synergia Northwest 2012 Performers
When you first hear Vicci Martinez sing, you know immediately you are experiencing something special. Only 27, Vicci, a Tacoma, Washington native, writes, sings and plays guitar with the touch of a veteran performer. She turns her concerts into full-on events, and is as comfortable playing intimate solo gigs and headlining festivals as she is sharing the bill with artists ranging from Sting, Annie Lenox, Jonny Lang, Brandi Carlile, soul man Syl Johnson to blues legend BB King. She first started as a 13 year old who balked at joining her school choir, but thrived as a featured soloist. Her success included an appearance on “Star Search” plus an “American Idol” audition that got her a ticket to Hollywood which she declined, not feeling personally or professionally ready for that kind of attention at age 16. But it didn’t elude her for long as Vicci received national recognition as one of the top performers on season one of NBC’s hit show The Voice under her coach CeeLo Green. She has released 7 independent solo projects plus a live DVD. And now Vicci is building on this rich history and taking her career to a new level. She signed on with a top management team whose clients include Jonny Lang and Susan Tedeschi among others. Her first album Vicci on Universal Republic is due out May 2012. www.viccimartinez.bandcamp.com
Alan White and WHITE
Grammy Award-winning musical legend White, who makes his home in Seattle along with his wife Gigi, is best known for his thirty-four years of work with the progressive rock band Yes. Alan's work with Yes spans decades and can be heard on dozens of smashes like "Owner of a Lonely Heart," "Roundabout," "I've Seen All Good People," and "Leave It." In all, White has appeared on over fifty albums with artists from John Lennon and George Harrison to Joe Cocker, Ginger Baker and The Ventures. White has now formed the band WHITE and original members include bassist/vocalist Steve Boyce (Merkaba, Two Shed Jackson), and guitarist Karl Haug (Treason), will be joined by new members, vocalist Robyn Dawn (Parallels, Ajalon, Supernaughty), and keyboardist Jonathan Sindelman (Parallels, Ajolan) in a reprise of their performance at Synergia 2010. Supporting the band will be percussionist Reek Havok (work ranging from The Pointer Sisters to Motley Crue). www.alanwhite.net
Brad has now completed work on United We Stand, a brand new studio album set for release on April 24th 2012 through NY’s Razor & Tie Records. Razor & Tie recently announced the addition of Seattle’s Brad to its roster for a new North American deal. The long-time Northwest underground favorites features core members Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) on guitar, vocalist/pianist Shawn Smith (Pigeonhed and Satchel), drummer Regan Hagar (Satchel and Malfunkshun), and bass player Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple and David Sylvian). Comprised of 10 tracks, longtime fans of the band will find much to love on United We Stand as Brad’s reflective, unique songwriting approach is intact with Shawn Smith’s soaring vocals cascading over songs like “A Reason To Be In My Skin”, “Needle And Thread” and “Bound In Time”. In addition to the band’s new album, Razor & Tie has licensed Brad’s entire catalog and will re-release the band’s previous studio albums Shame, Interiors, Welcome To Discovery Park, and Best Friends? along with the compilation, Satchel vs. Brad. The catalogue albums will be released in multiple deluxe configurations beginning later this year. Brad will also begin touring to support the album with the first dates on the west coast. Formed in 1992, Brad originated as an official side-project that developed into something much deeper for fans and band alike. Anchored by Shawn Smith’s astonishing vocals, the band’s soulful rock sound has showcased on both Jimmy Kimmel Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. www.bradcorporation.com/
LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends
LeRoy Bell’s family legacy extended from Philly to Seattle when Thom Bell, LeRoy’s uncle opened up the west coast offices of Mighty Three Music in the late 70’s with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. As a young staff writer LeRoy co-wrote songs that would be recorded by The Spinners, The O’Jays, The Temptations, Rita Marley and most notably Elton John. John quickly became a fan of LeRoy’s songwriting and his recording of Bell’s “Mama Can’t Buy Me Love” topped the Pop, R&B and A/C charts in 1979 and earned John a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. That same year, Bell and co-writer Casey James had their own million-seller with “Livin’ It Up (Friday Night)” on A&M Records. 2003 brought new life for LeRoy as the Fat Boy Slim mix of Elton’s “Are You Ready For Love” – penned by Bell – reached #1 in England and most of Europe. LeRoy reinvented himself emerging as a singer/songwriter and releasing the acclaimed EP “Spending Time” on his own label Martez Music Group. He then released “Two Sides to Every Story”, and his career was officially re-born. Having performed with artists ranging from B.B. King, Sheryl Crow, Michael McDonald, LeAnne Rimes, Keb Mo and many others, LeRoy has grown as a touring artist, and the experience has given his music an edge that places him in a league of performers creating a sound that crosses many demographics. www.leroybell.com
Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs
Star Anna was born and raised in the small town of Ellensburg, WA. At the age of eleven she got her first snare drum, started taking drum lessons, and began buying some of her first CDs at the local records store. At sixteen, she picked up a guitar and taught herself some chords. She began writing songs and playing local coffee shops and cafes. She formed a punk metal band, No Continuous Standing, with a few friends during her freshman year. The band stayed together for a little over a year and placed in a few battle of the band contest. Then Star hit a rough patch that took almost two years to come out of, but when she did, she went straight back to her guitar. With a little more life experience and a stronger sense of who she was, her style has continued to change. Not easily definable, but still glimmering with her rural upbringing. The Laughing Dogs include fellow Washington State musicians Justin Davis (lead guitar); Travis Yost (drums) and Ty Bailie (keys, organ) as well as special support from Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) on guitar. Their current CD Alone In This Together is on Local 638 Records. www.staranna.com
Dora Oliveira and The Samba Reggae Revolution
Dora’s career as a professional dancer began in 1976 when she joined renowned Brazilian folkloric dance troupe, Exaltacao A Bahia. Ms. Oliveira has a repertoire that ranges from Afro-Brazilian dance forms to jazz and modern dance. Dora has toured international with Olodum and other groups. She holds a degree in dance from the Federal University of Bahia. For over a decade, Dora has toured and performed with Occeami – the premier African dance ensemble of the Northwest. She also dances for Show Brazil, a Seattle-based Brazilian band.
Synergia Northwest 2012 Special Guests
Guitarist, record producer,and musical director. For 22 years Leese was Heart's guitarist, backing vocalist, keyboard player and song arranger. He is a member of the Paul Rogers Band. 2009 saw the release of Leese's first solo effort Secret Weapon. The disc includes special guest appearances by Joe Lynn Turner, Paul Rogers, Jimi Jamison and Keith Emerson.
Brendan Hill of Blues Traveler
Drummer Brendan Hill is one of the original members of Blues Traveler. In 1983, while attending Princeton High School in the Borough of Princeton, New Jersey, Hill met harmonica player John Popper and together they formed the predecessor to Blues Traveler, Blues Band, and began playing with guitarist Chan Kinchla and bassist Bobby Sheehen. The musicians moved to New York City after graduating, and Blues Traveler quickly earned a local reputation for its high-energy, heavily improvisational live show with Popper’s soulful singing and flamboyant harp-blowing matched by Kinchla’s inventive combustible guitar work and the rhythm section’s propulsive punch. Blues Traveler went on to make its mark in American rock history as a forerunner of the Jam Band movement with eight studio album, four live discs - six of which certified Gold or Platinum — and a combined worldwide sales of more than ten million units. The band’s best-known single, “Run-Around,” was the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history. And along the way, the band has played more than 2000 live shows in front of more than three million people.
Geoffrey Castle is a pioneer on the electric six-string violin. From his beginnings as a street musician in New York City and Paris, he rose to play in the Tony Award winning Broadway production of M. Butterfly. With several critically acclaimed releases on his own Twisted Fiddle Music label. Geoffrey Castle has also managed to share stages with an illustrious group of musicians including Blues Traveler, all of the original and current members of Heart, Buddy Miles, and Alan White of Yes. White recently tapped Castle to be a member of the All-Star group the White Sox with Bernt Bodal. Castle's fresh approach to Celtic music is most evident on his latest release Streets of Inwood: Celtic Soul bringing a more urban, smooth, and bluesy approach to traditional Celtic material. In keeping with the theme of changing the public's perception of what is possible on the violin, Castle has long been an advocate of community outreach and school performances, inspiring the next generation.
Somar Macek, renowned Northwest vocalist, brings her unique talent once again to the Synergia Northwest stage. Somar is a Northwest native who has gained a reputation throughout the Seattle area from singing the National Anthem at Seattle Mariner games to sharing the stage with famous NW musicians. Somar joined forces with Steve Fossen of Heart in 2009 to become what they call "Heart By Heart" (www.heartbyheartband.com) singing classic Heart hits. In addition, Somar is working on a musical project featuring original Heart members, bassist Steve Fossen, guitarist Howard Leese, drummer Mike Derosier, and LA songwriter/ singer Lisa Nemzo.
Guitars were one of the things Caspian Coberly talked about first. As a toddler, he would watch DVD's of Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Rolling Stones, and he knew the entire Bob Marley catalogue by age two. His parents took him to The Guitar Center in Seattle, so that Caspian could play the guitars, and at five, he started taking lessons. When he was six, he started doing lead vocals and guitar on Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and at seven, he started writing his own songs. Caspian has continued to perform regularly over the last five years and was one of the opening acts at the EMP Founder's Award last December honoring blues legend Buddy Guy. The February 2012 issue of Seattle Met Magazine featured Caspian onstage performing Buddy Guy's " Stone Crazy" with the Jelly Rollers. Caspian is in 6th grade at Rose Hill Elementary in Kirkland, WA in Mrs. McKinney's class.